How to Submit a Complaint to the CFPB
Written by: Kristy Welsh
Last Updated: August 30, 2017
When you're having a problem with a financial product or service, who better to complain to than the agency that oversees the industry?
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) not only plays a supervisory role within the financial industry, but also enforces laws, and writes new rules and regulations.
To that end, the CFPB not only accepts complaints, but encourages them.
First, they're able to help individuals resolve problems. Second, they're able to get a feel for what are common problems across the industry so as to adjust supervision, enforcement, and new rules and regulations accordingly.
Where Do I Submit My Complaint to the CFPB?
You can submit a complaint to the CFPB either online or by phone:
- To submit your complaint online, go to the official CFPB website at ConsumerFinance.gov and click on the "Submit a Complaint" tab.
- To submit your complaint by phone, call 855-411-2372.
What Kind of Complaints Does the CFPB Accept?
The CFPB accepts complaints about all sorts of financial products or services. When you submit your complaint online, you have the following categories to choose from:
- Mortgages — problems applying for a mortgage, being approved or denied credit, understanding the loan, making payments, signing the agreement, problems when unable to pay
- Debt collection — problems with or original creditors or collection agencies
- Credit reporting — problems with credit bureaus or credit reports
- Banking services — problems opening an account, accessing money, fees
- Credit cards — billing disputes, changes to your APR, identity theft, fees
- Money transfers — problems sending money to someone else or transferring money between two accounts
- Payday loans — problems with agreements or when you're unable to pay
- Student loans — problems with private or federal loans or when unable to pay
- Vehicle or other consumer loans — problems with loan tactics, applying for a loan, making payments, signing the agreement, problems when unable to pay
Should I Submit a Dispute of a Credit Report Listing With the CFPB First?
No. You should first dispute the listing with the appropriate credit bureau, which may be Experian, TransUnion, or Equifax (or all three if the disputed listing is on all three of your credit reports). If you are not satisfied with the response, dispute the listing directly with the creditor or collection agency. If at this point you do not feel your dispute has been properly investigated and addressed, then submit your complaint to the CFPB. See our step-by-step instructions on how to dispute listings on your credit reports.
What Does the CFPB Do With My Complaint?
Once the CFPB receives it, your complaint and any supporting documentation is forwarded on to the company for their review. The CFPB also shares complaints with state and federal law enforcement agencies, and sends a complaint report to Congress twice a year. Your complaint may also be posted to the Consumer Complaint Database.
What Information is Posted to the Consumer Complaint Database?
If your complaint is posted to the Consumer Complaint Database, all personally-identifying information is excluded. The information that does get posted there includes the:
- Product or service
- Nature of the complaint
- Submission method
- Company associated with the complaint
- Date complaint was received
- Company's response to the complaint
- Whether the response was timely
- Whether the consumer disputed the company's response
How Long Does it Take to Receive a Response to my CFPB Complaint?
Once the CFPB submits your complaint, the company has 15 days to respond to the CFPB and to you. During this 15-day period, you can expect to receive from the CFPB email updates on your complaint status. You can also check the status online at ConsumerFinance.gov.
What if I Disagree with the Response to my CFPB Complaint?
Once the company responds to your complaint, the CFPB will forward it on to you for your review. If you disagree with the response, you will have an opportunity at this time to submit a dispute.
How Long Does it Take for a CFPB Complaint to be Resolved?
Barring special circumstances, companies have 60 days total to satisfactorily address and close a complaint.
How is the CFPB Different from the FTC?
Both the CFPB and the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) are consumer protection agencies. However, while the FTC focuses on consumer protection relative to a variety of consumer issues, the CFPB focuses exclusively on financial products and services.